Vet nutritionists help to care for animals that are both sick and ill. They work to achieve optimal health and performance in animals as well as to treat various diseases that may be progressing or in stages of remission. Some vet nutritionists specialize in specific areas, such as equine or small animal nutrition. Others are involved in teaching at an animal care hospital. In fact, as this list of top 15 vet nutrition professors shows, they can have many different responsibilities including caring for patients, being involved in research, working with graduate-level students, and, of course, teaching.
Dr. Joseph Wakshlag
An associate professor in the section of clinical nutrition at Cornell University, Dr. Joseph Wakshlag has both his DVM and PhD. He obtained his DVM from Cornell University, doing a residency in pathology and another in clinical nutrition, and later completed his PhD at Cornell University in pharmacology. He is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has research interests that include carotenoids and fatty acid metabolism in cancer cell biology as well as metabolism in working dogs, according to the school website. He is also involved with the school's 24-hour emergency veterinary care services.
Dr. Daniel Thomson
A professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Dr. Daniel Thomson has both a DVM and a PhD. He teaches welfare and nutrition, and farm animal production medicine, and, in 2012, received the National Excellence in Teaching award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. He has more than 50 peer-reviewed papers published, as well as 73 proceedings, 204 abstracts and four book chapters. He is also host of "Doc Talk," a nationally-aired veterinary television show that has a viewership in more than 45 million homes.
Dr. Korinn Saker
Dr. Korinn Saker is an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. She obtained her DVM from the University of Georgia, Athens and her PhD in veterinary medical sciences medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research interests include nutritional support interventions for cancer and obesity as well as clinical care nutrition including nutrients as related to oxidative stress disease. Research that she has been involved in has been published in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Journal of Medical Primatology.
Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington
Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington is a professor with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University. He has his DVM and a PhD in nutrition, both from the University of California, Davis. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has research interests that include lower urinary tract disorders of cats and the clinical nutrition of small animal patients. He is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and has had peer-reviewed articles published in The Journal of Urology, Experimental Neurology, and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Robert J. Van Saun
Dr. Robert J. Van Saun is a professor of veterinary science within Penn State University's Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He received his DVM from Michigan State University and his PhD in ruminant nutrition from Cornell University. His research interests include mineral and vitamin metabolism in pregnant animals as well as the development of new diagnostic techniques for nutritional monitoring, including metabolic profiling. He is certified with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has memberships in the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and many others.
Dr. Sarah Ralston
Dr. Sarah Ralston is a professor in the department of animal sciences at Rutgers University. She has both her VMD and her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, earned in 1980 and 1982, respectively. Her current research is focused on the metabonomic profile and identification of horses with genetic predisposition to Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). She became board certified with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in 1989 and has had an active role on its board of directors since. She has been published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the American Journal of Animal Science. She lectures on equine nutrition regularly at the University of Pennsylvania and has provided more than 200 nutritional consultations every year. Before joining Rutgers University, she held the Mark Morris Chair of Clinical Nutrition in Colorado State University's Department of Clinical Sciences.
Dr. John Bauer
A Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Nutrition at Texas A&M and Professor Affiliate of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. John Bauer first obtained his DVM in 1979 followed by a PhD in Nutritional Sciences in 1980 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, and has scholarly interests that include disorders of lipid metabolism, obesity and weight management. He has had research published in multiple journals.
Dr. Lisa Freeman
A professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University, Dr. Lisa Freeman has her DVM and her PhD in nutrition. She is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and is doing research that focuses on nutritional modulation of heart disease as well as critical care nutrition. She currently heads the Accelerated Clinical Excellence (ACE) and Residents' Enhanced Veterinary Education and Academic Learning (REVEAL) programs at the school and acts in an advisory role for school's Paws for People program.
Dr. Jennifer Larsen
Dr. Jennifer Larsen, an assistant professor in clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, is a DVM and also holds a PhD in nutritional biology. She also did her clinical nutrition residency at the school. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, and provides clinical nutritional consulting services through the hospital's Nutrition Support Services. Her research with colleagues has examined the fiber concentration of canned and dry commercial dog foods, as published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Richard Hill
An associate professor in small animal medicine at the University of Florida, Dr. Richard Hill has his Vet MB from Cambridge University and his PhD in veterinary medicine from the University of Florida. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition as well as of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He has been the recipient of many honors and awards and has research interests that include clinical nutrition, colonic physiology, gastrointestinal physiology, and the nutrition of greyhounds, as well as has been published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition.
Dr. Julie Churchill
Dr. Julie Churchill is an associate clinical professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. She has her DVM and her PhD, and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. She instructs in small animal nutrition, small animal clinical nutrition, and principles of nutrition. Her clinical interests include weight loss management and obesity prevention, critical care nutrition, and the role of nutrition in integrative medicine. Funding for one of her current research projects focuses on the impact of raw food versus a commercial diet on feline health.
Dr. Robert Backus
An associate teaching professor and Director of the Nestle-Purina Endowed Small Animal Nutrition Program at the University of Missouri, Dr. Robert Backus is a DVM who has a PhD in physiology from the University of California, Davis. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has acted as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Nutrition. He has also been involved in research that has been published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research as well as The Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition.
Dr. Kathryn Michel
Dr. Kathryn Michel is a professor of nutrition in the Department of Clinical Studies for the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has research interests that include animal diets, diet, nutrition assessment, nutritional requirements of critically-ill companion animals, and obesity and weight reduction. Her clinical specialties are animal nutrition and medicine, and research that she has done with colleagues has been published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research, the British Journal of Nutrition and others.
Dr. Claudia Kirk
A professor of medicine and nutrition in the University of Tennessee's Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department, Dr. Claudia Kirk has both her DVM and a PhD in Nutrition. A faculty member since 2003, her areas of interest include feline diabetes mellitus, feline calcium oxalate urinary stones, and obesity. She is a diplomate with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has co-authored articles for the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, the American Journal of Veterinary Research, and others. She also previously served as a senior scientist for Hill's Science and Technology Center.
Dr. Megan Shepherd
An assistant professor in clinical nutrition for the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Megan Shepherd is a DVM and also has a PhD in biomedical and veterinary services. She is a diplomate with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and has research and clinical interests that include companion animal obesity management. She is also a member of the American Society of Animal Science and the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.
The following criteria were used in compiling this list of Top 15 Vet Nutrition Professors. Not all criteria below applied to each and every professor, but many of the listed professors have:
Both their DVM and PhD: After receiving their doctor of veterinary medicine, some professors have chosen to continue their education by working on a PhD. For some on this list, that PhD related to the area of nutrition.
Membership in professional organizations: Membership in the American College of Veterinary Nutrition means that these professors are certified as veterinary nutritionists and are able to help treat both healthy and ill animals. Those on this list with diplomate status from the ACVN have passed an exam to obtain certification. Professors may also have membership in various related veterinary organizations.
Been published in academic journals: From The Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, publication in academic journals shows that these professors are involved in research and exploring nutrition as it relates to the veterinarian field.